Spiritual Priming and Shaping Culture

Recently, I’ve written a couple posts on The Circle Maker (see 1.0 and 2.0). One particular section made me think about shaping culture.

Batterson writes about “spiritual priming” (127). In it, he talks about the importance of the primer in painting. He states …

It may seem like the primer is unnecessary … but it actually increases quality while decreasing the quantity of work. (127)

Batterson reports on the results of a psychology experiment where two different groups of college students were given one of two scrambled-sentence tests. One test included rude words and the other one included polite words. The students thought the purpose of the test was to measure intelligence and didn’t pick up on the word trend. The next part of the experiment involved the students walking down the hall to talk to the person running the experiment. However, the person in charge was engaged in a conversation with an actor.

Batterson reports …

The group primed with rude words interrupted, on average, after five minutes, but 82 percent of those primed with polite words never interrupted at all. (128)

That says a lot about what we focus on, what we see, and what we hear. Batterson argues, “Everything we see and hear is priming us in a positive or negative way” (128).

Of course, Batterson’s emphasis is on prayer. He concludes …

Prayer is priming. Prayer puts us in a spiritual frame of mind. Prayer helps us see and seize the God-ordained opportunities that are all around us all the time. (129)

It’s a great illustration for prayer. But it’s also a great illustration for leader-communicators who are seeking to shape the culture of their organization through their communication. What we say matters. How we say it matters!

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